You are currently viewing Company culture and procurement

Company culture and procurement

In my career, I had the opportunity to work in or manage procurement teams in very different organizations. And the ways we had to procure things, manage our documentation and arrange our work in general varied widely. One of the main factors for this was, among others, the corporate culture

Definition of Corporate Culture

As always, in the Sources, you will find articles that describe Corporate Culture in detail. They have much more knowledge about the topic than I do. has a short and very precise definition of Company culture:

“Company culture can be defined as a set of shared values, goals, attitudes and practices that characterize an organization.”

We could also say that company culture reflects in the below sentence:

“This is how we do things around here”

How procurement works in different cultures

Let us use the 5 types of company culture from Enplug.

1. Team-first Corporate Culture

“Team-oriented companies hire for culture fit first, skills and experience second”

This is a tough place to be for a procurement professional. Imagine doing procurement for your local school soccer team. When you point out that a team member is not performing the answer will be “But he is with us for the past 5 years!” Be a leader if you want to succeed in this environment. Set up an example, be supportive and patient. If you manage to create a real team spirit, you will enjoy working here.

2. Elite Corporate Culture

“Companies with elite cultures are often out to change the world by untested means”

Get things done. Period. These companies are pushing for the best. They do not care about the details, as long as you can deliver what is required. And usually, those companies are cash-rich. Which means that you may have crazy requests. And money to make it happen. It is a good place to be if you like to always push forward. But if you are more into rules, regulations and procedures, run away. They will drive you crazy.

3. Horizontal Corporate Culture

“Titles don’t mean much in horizontal cultures”

Your negotiation skills will be your best tool here. To influence the stakeholders, of course. The main problem for procurement here is to define who is the requestor, and who is the approver. Everyone has the right to make a request. Which ones will eventually convert into real orders, and which are only wishes? You will have to find this out through interactions with many stakeholders. Here most of the time will be spent communicating. 

4. Conventional Corporate Culture

“Traditional companies have clearly defined hierarchies and are still grappling with the learning curve for communicating through new mediums”

Not wearing a tie to work is a big deal. And the audit report is your “holy book”. Here it is all about playing by the rules. The manuals are long and go into great detail. Every change requires approval from multiple stakeholders and is generally not welcomed. Go for advanced PowerPoint training, you’ll need it to impress your bosses.  

5. Progressive Corporate Culture

“Uncertainty is the definitive trait of a transitional culture”

People are constantly coming and going. Nobody understands based on what some people landed in some positions. 

Simply said, adopt. You may get promoted and demoted on the same day, based on how others got moved around the business. Your team will change, and often you’ll get new team members simply appearing in your office. In the same way, the procurement strategy will cover the next year, not longer.

Leave a Reply